“Wait… Wait… Wait… Wait… 800 South; walk sign is on to cross 800 South.”
Every UCAS student knows the famed (or infamous) crosswalk that gets us safely to and from our UVU classes. However, BYU sketch comedy group Studio C has given this crosswalk an entirely new persona in its newest episode, published at 4pm on Tuesday, October 3.
The episode, titled “A Lonely Crosswalk,” opens with cast member Matthew Meese approaching the 800 S crosswalk from the UVU classroom building. He pushes the crosswalk button, which is voiced by James Perry, waits for the sign to change, and begins to cross. To his surprise, as he takes his first step, the button calls out and urges him to stay and keep it company. As the episode continues, the button is reduced to begging as Matt becomes increasingly frustrated. In the end, Matt ignores the crosswalk and storms into the street, only to be struck by an eastbound car.
The UVU classroom building is visible behind Matt for most of the video, along with a road that may seem foreign and out-of-place to many sophomores. This section of College Drive was demolished over the summer in order to expand the parking lot.
While Matt’s clearly CGI car crash is meant only as a comedic plot device, the situation is entirely plausible. Every year in Utah alone, 785 pedestrians are hospitalized after being hit by automobiles and 30 are killed. In fact, dozens UVU and UCAS students have been injured or hospitalized crossing that very street or others in the area.
For instance, UVU student Clint Applegate was hit and nearly killed while crossing 1200 W on August 20, 2010. He had to be transported by helicopter to critical care, where he underwent multiple surgeries and extensive rehabilitation. His mother, Dorothy Jewett, worked for months to make the campus streets safer for pedestrians and was a driving force behind many of the RRFB’s (Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons) and HAWK’s (High-Intensity Activated crossWalK beacon) that are now prevalent on campus.
Of course, Studio C’s sketch was not meant to be taken as a PSA on crossing streets safely. But with dozens of UVU and UCAS students having been injured and hundreds of hospitalizations across Utah every year, crossing the street when the crosswalk isn’t activated simply isn’t worth the risk.
[UPDATE – 10/17/2017]: With today’s activation of the new 800 S and College Drive stoplight, the 800 S HAWK crosswalk has been removed.